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Volume 461: debated on Tuesday 19 June 2007

The Government are committed to increasing cycling; it is a healthy, environmentally friendly transport mode. We doubled Cycling England’s budget to £10 million last year and launched Bikeability cycle training earlier this year. The six cycling demonstration towns with which Cycling England is working have increased cycle trips by about 30 per cent. in just one year.

I thank the Minister for that answer. Does he agree that one thing that helps cycling is better cycle and rail integration—and that that is not helped by the attitude of some rail operators that do not encourage cycles on trains, and of some stations that prevent cyclists from bringing their bicycles into the ticket office?

I accept my hon. Friend’s concerns. Since late 2004, the Government have funded about 2,500 new cycle parking spaces at stations. However, there will always be constraints on the ability to accommodate non-folding bikes on trains at peak times. I believe that the train operating companies are the best placed to know where and when pressure on services exists, and they must be free to impose restrictions when necessary.

I call Rob Wallace. [Interruption.] I am sorry—I have a friend called Rob Wallace. I call Rob Wilson.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am sure that we will become firm friends in a short space of time.

This week I shall participate in Reading’s cycle week, but Reading has a very poor cycle network that is neither safe nor fully integrated. What central funds will the Minister provide to address that deplorable state of affairs in my constituency?

I congratulate the hon. Gentleman on trying to pin the blame for poor cycle routes on the Government. However, he will know that cycle facilities are entirely the responsibility of local government, using record levels of funds provided by this Government. I suggest that he engage with his local authority on this issue.